Coming up with great places to watch an Ohio State football game in Columbus, Ohio is an easy task. Narrowing that list to just 12 places can prove to be tricky, though. If you’ve been to Columbus, one thing is very prevalent once you enter the city limits – Columbus loves Buckeye football. From the suburbs to downtown to the university district, the people of Columbus pack bars, restaurants and tailgates on Saturday afternoons in the fall to cheer on their beloved Buckeyes. If you’re an Ohio State fan or a fan of an opposing team, and you find yourself in Columbus on an autumn Saturday looking for a place to watch the game, look no further. Besides going to the game, here are my top 12 places to watch the game in Columbus.
12. Riverwatch Tailgate
This huge tailgate is located on Lane Avenue just across the street from St. John’s Arena, where Ohio State used to play their home basketball games. It features live music, beer and plenty of greasy, state fair-type food. This tailgate has a jumbo projector screen to watch the games. For those of you looking to tailgate before heading over to Ohio Stadium, this is a great place to do it. It’s less than a mile away from the Horseshoe where the Buckeyes play all of their homes games.
11. Ugly Tuna Saloona
This bar is located at South Campus Gateway between 10th and 11th avenues on High Street. Ugly Tuna is just across from Ohio State’s campus on High Street, and the South Campus Gateway area is a location that has flourished in the past five to six years. This area features several restaurants, bars and shops. Ugly Tuna has game day drink specials and its food is very good.
10. 4th Street Bar and Grill
This bar and grill is fairly new to Ohio State. It’s located a little further from Ohio State’s campus in the heart of off-campus student housing on the corner of 4th Street and 16th Avenue. It features many flat-screen televisions and a great, fairly inexpensive menu.
9. Champps Sports Bar
Unlike any establishments on the list so far, this restaurant is a franchise. The food is great and they have a big bar, tons of flat-screen televisions and plenty of alcoholic beverages to choose from. Champps is also a very family-friendly place on game days. Located on Olentangy River Road in the Lennox Town Center shopping area, Champps has a great atmosphere.
Like 4th Street Bar and Grill, Chumley’s is fairly new to Ohio State. It was formerly Buffalo Wings and Rings, so some of you may remember the location. Chumley’s is a spacious restaurant and bar that has tons of televisions for watching the game. It is located on High Street just south of 17th Avenue and is a great place to watch the game.
7. Rooster’s: Olentangy River Rd.
Rooster’s is a national franchise that has great food and drink specials. They are known for their chicken wings, so if you haven’t had them, you should. Rooster’s is north of Ohio State’s campus on Olentangy River Rd., only about a mile and a half north of Ohio Stadium. I’ve watched several Ohio State football games here and have had a blast every time. It has a great atmosphere with an even mix of Ohio State fans and fans of the opposing team.
6. The Little Bar
The Little Bar, like Ugly Tuna, is an extremely popular bar among Ohio State students. However, on game days, The Little Bar features a tailgate that has a great mix of people of all ages. The inside of the bar is fairly small (hence the name), but it has a spacious patio area and, on game days, the staff ropes off the parking lot and puts a giant projector screen outside so that all of their patrons can view the game. The bar opens at 9 a.m. for each and every Ohio State home football game.
5. Woody’s Tavern
The Ohio Union, Ohio State University’s student union, was completed in the spring of 2010. It features the largest ballroom in Columbus, as well as many other amenities. One of these features is Woody’s Tavern. The tavern gets its name from legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes. Woody’s Tavern is a sports-type restaurant that is known for its pizza, but it also serves appetizers such as fries and jalapeño poppers. Woody’s front wall is covered with projector screens, but what makes Woody’s truly special is that it features something no place else on Ohio State’s campus does: alcohol.
4. Varsity Club
Founded in 1959, the Varsity Club is an Ohio State football staple. It is located at the intersection of Lane Avenue and Tuttle Park Place, only about 500 yards from the Horseshoe. The Varsity Club offers a fantastic game day atmosphere with one of the largest tailgate parties in Columbus. The inside isn’t too spacious, but the space behind the building, where the tailgate takes place, allows for many patrons to enjoy watching the game.
3. Buffalo Wild Wings: Lane Ave. and High St.
Like Champps and Rooster’s, Buffalo Wild Wings is a franchise restaurant. But, what makes this location unique is the area in which it stands. The corner of Lane Avenue and High Street is one of the most popular areas around Ohio State’s campus. The food is great, the beer is cheap and the atmosphere is outstanding. This Buffalo Wild Wings is two levels and the game day experience here is a must-try.
2. Eddie George’s Grille 27
Founded by Heisman Trophy-winning Ohio State running back, Eddie George’s Grille 27 is one of the best places to watch the game in Columbus. It is located at the intersection of Chittenden Avenue and High Street, close to the South Campus Gateway. The food is absolutely great here, and I highly recommend that you try the deep-fried cheeseburger if you do indeed make it to Eddie George’s.
1. Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill
Finally, the number one place to watch the game in Columbus – the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill. Located on Goodale Boulevard, just a 10-minute drive south of Ohio Stadium, the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill is arguably the best place in Columbus to watch a game. It features great food, great décor and a ton of flat-screen televisions for the ultimate viewing experience. If you plan on tailgating or meeting up with friends closer to Ohio State’s campus before you head to the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill, don’t worry because the restaurant provides transportation to and from campus during Ohio State home games with the purchase of $20 Buckeye Grill gift card on game day.
About: Joshua Stivers
Josh is a proud alumnus of The Ohio State University. He is also an avid sports fan. On Saturdays, you can find him glued to a TV watching The Ohio State Buckeyes football team. Hopefully, you'll see him on ESPN's Sports Center one day. Go Bucks!